Featured Photo by eschipul

Kerouac. Ginsberg. Williams. If you’re acquainted with spoken word poetry, these names might ring a bell. Never heard the term? That’s why we’re here. In a nutshell, spoken word is the phrase coined for people who weren’t satisfied with simply writing poetry — they had to take turns screaming it at a crowd. Since spoken word’s birthplace in the 1950s, it has grown ferociously popular with outcasts and artists alike. Anyone who’s felt out of place in society’s mainstream mediums of expression love the anonymity and freedom performance poetry offers. Poets don’t care whether they’re stuffed into coffee shop cranny or perched on a bar stool onstage, all that seems to matter to them is the undivided attention given by fellow performers and appreciaters of the art (out of turn talking or careless disruption is often jeered into submission).

Feel like you’re missing out? Here’s a comprehensive list of open mic nights that cater to the beatnik in all of us. So warm up your snappin’ fingers, grab your sunglasses, and support your local poets. Even if you don’t feel like reading anything of your own, go find out what keeps thousands flocking back to their favorite spoken word spot every week. And oh yeah, tip your bartender.

PS: If you DO have the cajones to get behind the microphone, most sign-ups begin 30-45 minutes before the open mic begins. If the spot is popular, plan to arrive especially early to avoid a huge pileup of performers ahead of you. Even if the night starts at 8 PM, you might not walk out until 12 or 1 in the morning.

PPS: Shocked to see a charge for amature poetry? Savor the phrase, starving artist. Most of the time, it’s applied literally. For those who persue poetry passionately (ESPECIALLY STUDENTS), it’s usually at the cost of a normal 9-5 job. A lot of cover charges go to supporting those who make a living by the pen.

Sundays:

Rituals presents “Rituals Rhythms”
537 S. Dearborn
(312) 922-3834
EVERY OTHER Sunday
6 PM to 10 PM
Hosted by Oba
Featured performers, live music, and open mic
$5 ($3 open mikers)

Pontiac Produce – Word Salad
1531 N. Damen
(773) 252 7767
7:30 PM to 10 PM
Hosted by Jim Redd
Open mic with featured performers
FREE

Kerouac Jack’s
3407 N. Paulina
(773) 348-4321
THIRD Sundays –
9:30 PM
Hosted by Jeff Carpenter
$3 donation requested

Green Mill – Uptown Poetry Slam
4753 N. Broadway
(773) 878-5552
7 PM open mic, 8 PM feature
Hosted by Marc Smith
Open mic with featured performers
and poetry slam
$5

Mondays:

The Culture Club
1351 S. Michigan Ave.
(312) 922-6414
7PM
$3 ($2 open mikers)

P.O.E.T.S.
5 W. Division
(773) 271- 8448
6:30 PM to 9 PM
Hosted by Maria McCray
$1

Red Lion
2446 N. Lincoln
(773) 348-2695
LAST MONDAY of every month
8PM
Hosted by Suki de la Croix & Lynda Licina
$2

Weeds
1555 N. Dayton
(312) 943-7815
10 PM to 1 AM
Hosted by Gregorio Gomez
FREE

Tuesdays:

Cafe Aloha
2156 W. Montrose
(773) 907-9356
8 PM
Hosted by David Rubin
FREE

Estelle’s
2013 W. North Ave.
(773) 486-8760
10 PM to 1 AM
Hosted by Shappy
“The Shappening” open mic
FREE

Fitgerald’s
6615 Roosevelt Road
Berwyn
(708) 788-2118
8PM
“Rhythm & Rhyme Revue”
Hosted by Scott Momenthy
Open mic music and poetry
with featured performers
$2

Guild Complex at Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division
(773) 278-2210
7:30 PM to 10 PM
“More Than Words” open mic
with featured performers
$3 (varies per show)

Lilly’s
2513 N. Lincoln
(773) 525-2422
9PM
“Mental Grafitti”
Hosted by Crystal Rabedeau
$2

Wednesdays:

Mojava Coffee Bar – Kuumba Theatre presents “Poetry Place”
1617 Hyde Park Blvd.
(312) 421-7880
4th Wednesdays – 7PM to 9PM
Hosted by Brandy Barnes
Open mic
$5 (includes first drink minimum)

No Exit – In One Ear
6970 N. Glenwood
(773) 743 – 3355
9 PM
Hosted by Michael O’Toole
$1

Joy Blue – Yammer
3998 N. Southport
(773) 477-3330
8:30 PM
Hosted by Lisa Hemminger
FREE

Hungry Brain
2319 W. Belmont
(773) 935-2118
10 PM
Hosted by Leonard de Montbrun
Open mic with featured performers
FREE

Thursdays:

Speak-Easy Poetry Cabaret
1538 W. Adams
No phone
Thurdays (starting July 17) – 7PM
Hosted by Michael Ralston
$3 ($2 open mikers)

Yo Mama’s Cafe
1466 N. Milwaukee
No phone
8:30 PM
Hosted by Joe Roarty
and Paul Ryan
Round-robin open mic
FREE
Fridays and Saturdays:

Afri-Ware Inc
948 Lake St., Oak Park
(708) 524-8398
3rd Fridays – 7 PM to 9 PM
Hosted by Viadajean Towns Collins
Open mic with featured performers
FREE

Beach Poet Series
North Avenue Beach
(773) 465-5460
7 PM
Hosted by Cathleen Schandelmeier
Open mic with featured performers
FREE

Bop Shop – First Friday Show
5419 N. Clark
(773) 235-3232
1st Fridays – 7PM
Hosted by David Hernandez &
Street Sounds
$5

Literary Explosions
1570 1/2 N. Damen Ave. (773) 252-5120
7:30 PM
Hosted by Mad Peace
Hip Hop open mic
Saturdays – 7:30PM
Hosted by Tina Howell
FREE

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